This summer has already seen two of the year’s biggest cider events: the Royal Bath and West Show and the Royal Three Counties Show.
The British Cider Championships, the largest of its kind in Europe, once again took place in the Orchards and Cider Pavilion at the Royal Bath and West Show, with entries received from as far away as the USA, Spain and Poland. The champion cider, Blackmore Vale, came from much closer to home, however.
Alan Berry’s championship-winning cider was made last autumn, from a blend of traditional Somerset varieties grown near Castle Cary. “Apart from growing the apples, I do everything else myself – blending the apples, milling, pressing, fermenting, bottling, even labelling”, said a delighted Alan.
Meanwhile, in Malvern, at the Royal Three Counties Show, competition was fierce for the title of Supreme Champion. The NACM’s Communications Officer, Gabe Cook, was one of the judges in the competition which had over 140 entries. He said ‘The range of entries was startling, from bold, bone dry ciders to rich and unctuous perries. The quality, overall, was good, with some outstanding offerings.’
Pips Cider from Dorstone in Herefordshire was the standout amongst the ciders, winning the dry, medium and sweet categories, capping a wonderful year that has seen success at other cider events. The Champion Perry and overall Supreme Champion product, however, went to Chris Atkins from Gloucestershire. Gabe Cook described his perry as ‘wonderfully rich, balance, fruity and complex. This could easily be drunk instead of a glass of sparkling white wine’.